Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: A Story about Gifts & Choices

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: A Story about Gifts & Choices

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com (the largest retailer on the web).

Net worth of $19.1 Billion Time Magazine Person of the Year in 1999 Forbes #40 World's Most Powerful People U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Leaders

In this Princeton University graduation address, he tells the story about the difference between gifts and choices.

Cleverness is a gift Kindness is a choice

In his introduction he tells the story of a caravan ride with his grandfather and grandmother over a summer vacation. His grandmother was a smoker and he hated the smell. During the course of the ride he tried to keep himself busy making useless calculations about gas milage and grocery spending, when he remembered an ad campaign that said: 'for every puff on a cigarette, two minutes is taken from your life.' So he did the math for his grandmother, expecting to be applauded for his cleverness.

“At two minutes per puff, you’ve taken nine years off of your life.”

His grandmother burst into tears.

His grandfather pulled off the road and said to him: “Jeff, one day you will understand that it is harder to be kind than clever.”

Some questions to think about:

Will inertia be you guide or will you follow your passions? Will you follow dogma or be original? Will you choose a life or ease or service? Will you wilt under criticism or follow your convictions? Will you buff it out when you are wrong or apologise? Will you guard your heart against rejection or act when you fall in love? Will you play it safe or be a little bit swash-buckling? When it's tough, will you give up or will you be relentless? Will you be a cynic or be a builder? Will be be clever at the expense of others or be kind?

"When you are 80 years old and quietly narrating back the story of your life, the telling that will be most meaningful will not be the gifts you were given, it will be the series or choices you have made." - Jeff Bezos

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